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article imageWikileaks strikes gold with leak of 90,000+ US classified reports

By Stephanie Dearing     Jul 25, 2010 in World
Wikileaks did it again. The organization received thousands of secret US military reports pertaining to the Afghanistan war.
Those reports are said to contain damaging information, according to the Guardian, which was one of the few mainstream media sources to be given access to the leaked US military documents by Wikileaks. The New York Times and Der Spiegel also were given copies of what is said to be over 90,000 records of classified documents.
Der Spiegel said the three media companies verified the information. The documents will be posted online, and in an agreement between the three media companies, none of the most sensitive material will be released to the public. Der Spiegel received a communique from Whitehouse spokesperson Ben Rhodes who said "Since taking office, President Obama has been very clear and candid with the American people about the challenges that we face in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The president and senior officials in his administration have spoken openly and repeatedly about the safe havens that exist in Pakistan, the security and governance challenges in Afghanistan, and the difficulties that lie ahead. ... It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009. The war in Afghanistan was under-resourced for many years. ... On Dec. 1, 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy and new resources for Afghanistan and Pakistan precisely because of the grave situation there."
We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations that put the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security." He said that WikiLeaks made "no effort to contact the United States government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners and local populations who cooperate with us."
Rhodes is the Director of Strategic Communication for the US National Security Council.
The New York Times said Wikileaks would be publishing the documents online Sunday.
The Guardian said the documents revealed hundreds of non-combatant Afghanistans had been killed in unreported incidents. In addition, the files revealed "... a secret "black" unit of special forces" that "... hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial; How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban has acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles;" and "How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada."
The New York Times reached Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange by phone. Assange said the leaked reports "... shows not only the severe incidents but the general squalor of war, from the death of individual children to major operations that kill hundreds." Assange said his organization was blocking out the names of individuals in the reports, and once that was completed, the documents would be posted.
The founder of WikiLeaks  Julian Assange
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange
Creative Commons
The New York Times Editor explained the reports as being "... thousands of United States military incident and intelligence reports — records of engagements, mishaps, intelligence on enemy activity and other events from the war in Afghanistan... These reports are used by desk officers in the Pentagon and troops in the field when they make operational plans and prepare briefings on the situation in the war zone. Most of the reports are routine, even mundane, but many add insights, texture and context to a war that has been waged for nearly nine years.
Over all these documents amount to a real-time history of the war reported from one important vantage point — that of the soldiers and officers actually doing the fighting and reconstruction."
The New York Times has made some of the documents available online, accessible through this link.
The Guardian has published all the reports online, and has also created a video guide on how to read the logs. Click on "published" underlined in the sentance above to access the reports.
A United States soldier, Bradley Manning, who had leaked a classified video of US forces shooting and killing Iraq journalists was charged with violating the federal law. If convicted, Manning could face 52 years in jail, reported NPR.
The controversial Wikileaks operates its website servers from Sweden where the organization is afforded legal protection. The organization almost collapsed last month, in what The Guardian said was a problem going "mainstream."
Wikileaks protects the people named in the documents that it releases to the public by removing all identification. Wikileaks also protects its sources.
More about Wikileaks, Afghanistan war, Leaked documents, Civilians killed
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